The numbers don’t lie: with 1.9 million Americans facing a prescription drug abuse problem in 2014 alone, the United States is facing a major opioid addiction epidemic. What’s further alarming is the rising occurrence of neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) in newborn babies — a condition where the infant is born dependent on opioids and exhibits withdrawal symptoms. NAS occurs as a result of pregnant women using opioids during pregnancy, and it’s seen a 5-fold increase since 2000. Nearly 22,000 babies were born with this condition in 2012, the equivalent of one baby being born with opiate withdrawal symptoms every 25 minutes.
This guide will cover everything you need to know about opiate addiction and pregnancy. It will discuss potential reasons why and how opioids have become prevalent in today’s society, the dangers of addiction and usage during pregnancy, options for treatment, and a brief note on legal considerations. The intention here is not to critique or pass judgment on anyone who finds herself in this position, but to give her the information she needs to find her way to a safe, healthy life for her child and herself. Remember to always consult a doctor or addiction specialist for personalized medical treatment.
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